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					                                               Reflective Commentary

                                                         Table of Contents

1. An Introduction to the Marketplace Employment Opportunities in China ................................... 2

2. Reflective Commentary ................................................................................................................ 5

3. Conclusion with Planned Next Steps .......................................................................................... 11

4. References ................................................................................................................................... 13

5. Appendices.................................................................................................................................. 15

   5.1. Details of the Targeted Jobs ................................................................................................. 15

   5.2. CV and Covering Letter ....................................................................................................... 18

   5.3. Completed Job Application Form ........................................................................................ 21

   5.4. Reports from Four Tests ...........................................................................................................

   5.5. Observer’s Feedback ................................................................................................................

1. An Introduction to the Marketplace Employment Opportunities in

The marketplace for graduate employment opportunities is a topic that has aroused
public concern all over the world, because employment rate, especially the
employment rate of graduate students is an important and sensitive issue for any
country (Vitt, 2011). It matters not only the warfare of people, but also the social
stability. The world economy has suffered a lot after the financial crisis of 2008. As the
core and arteries of the modern market economy industry, finance is becoming
increasingly important for any country in today’s world characterized with
globalization and modernization. Financial system’s stable, orderly, efficient and
sustainable operating has been closely related to a country’s political, economic and
social security. In China, Finance has become a hot major (Vitt, 2011). Statistics shows
that in 2009, 70% of high school graduate students choose finance or other commercial
majors as their first major (Liu, 2010). This trend still spreads in recent years. By
consulting literatures and collecting data, this essay aims to illustrate the employment
marketplace of financial graduate students in China, especially it will explore what
kind of organizations or institutions they will choose to work and what jobs will be
offered by the marketplace.

What sectors or institutions fiancé majors can work?
As an analytic discipline, finance concentrates on financial decisions faced by
organizations and individuals. It mainly deals with three fields: financing, investing
and distributing. In other words, it mainly deals with how to raise money, how to invest
or manage money, and how to pay back to the money suppliers (Berezin, 2005).

In China, finance is a good major and potentially a very lucrative one with regards to
payment. After graduated from university, finance graduates can find jobs in several
sub-business of finance and may carry different positions such as personal financial
advisor, stock banker and so on. Graduates in Finance have a wide career choice.

They can find positions in wide areas of financial institutions, investments and
corporate finance. Generally speaking, after graduation, students majoring in finance
will choose the following businesses and institutions to work:
     1. Commercial banks.
National-owned Banks such as CCBC, ABC, CCB, and other foreign-owned banks
such as city group, and banks of joint-stock system such as Pudong Bank are the
primary choice for many financial graduate students, because jobs provided by these
banks are decent and stable, what is more, with high warfare. Additionally, it is
believed that these jobs provide the best training grounds for advancement to the top
level of corporations. (You, 2010)

Before becoming a regular employee, these banks will offer many training programs
for graduates. For example, every year, students can choose some banks working as
interns. If performing well, they have the opportunities to become the regular
employees. This kind of training helps students to get real-life experiences and benefit
their future career.
     2. Insurance companies
China Life Insurance Company, China Ping An Insurance Company and The Pacific
Life Insurance Ltd are also companies financial majors often choose to work after
     3. The financial industry management departments
The People’s Bank of China (PBC), China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC),
China Securities Regulatory Commission, and China Insurance Regulatory
Commission all belong to the management departments. Financial major who wants to
be a member of these institutions needs to be professional and excellent.
     4. State policy Banks
Chinese policy banks includes China Development Bank, Agricultural Development
Bank of China and EIBC ( Export-Import Bank of China ). Jobs provided by these
banks are less pressured compared with those of commercial banks such as CIBC,

ABC. In other words, working in these banks will be more comfortable but less
     5. Security exchanges, Investment Company, Funds Company
Security, trust fund and investment funds are risky industries. People who work in
these fields successfully are highly paid.
     6. Private companies
Financial majors also can choose pirate companies. Departments like general
accounting department, bond department, and others will provide them jobs.

What kind of jobs these institutions and companies will provide:

With the globalization of the world, finance has becoming one of the pillar industries
for many countries. Therefore, today's job market offers many positions for financial
majors. The following are a sample of the professions available for finance students.
        Financial Consultants
        Investment Bankers
        Loan Officers
        Portfolio Managers
        Property Management
        Stockbrokers
        Treasures
        Insurance & Risk Management*
        Appraisers
        Asset Managers
        Financial Planners

Employment outlook analysis for financial majors

Since 2002, foreign banks are allowed to handle RMB business in China. After that,
every year, China has increased the number of cities where foreign banks are
established. At the end of 2004, foreign banks were permitted to handle RMB business
in 16 areas, and 62 foreign banks from 19 countries and regions set up 191 business
institutions in China. There were totally 211 foreign bank branches in China and the
total assets of foreign financial institutions in China reached over US$47 billion.
(, 2006) In addition, 13 Sino-foreign equity joint venture fund management
companies has been approved to be established by CSRC, (, 2006)
Therefore, the increasing number of banks and financial companies provides more jobs
for the financial majors.

In addition, Statistics shows that the average monthly salary of financial majors is 3000
Yuan after one year graduated from university. While the average monthly salary of
Chinese graduates is only 1879 Yuan (Feng, 2009). Statistics also shows that 95% of
the financial majors can find a job when they graduate. 4% of them will find jobs in
one year (Feng, 2009). Compared with other majors, the employment rate is higher.
What is more, 64% of the financial majors think that the jobs they do have a bright
future, 23% of them think the future is gloomy (, 2010). Compared with
other majors, financial major also is listed above the average.

Therefore, taking all these factors into consideration, the Employment outlook of
financial graduates in China is positive. The major finance will still be the “sweet
pastry” in Chinese market.

2. Reflective Commentary

·A Brief Introduction to My Career Plan

I am now a sophomore student majoring business with finance in the Northumbria
University. As I am about to graduate from this university, I have made my career plan
as follows:

Short-term (1-3 years): Achieving a one-year placement and a postgraduate diploma
and attend training programmes.

Medium-term (3-5 years): To work as a financial trader and then as a financial analyst
in a bank.

Long-term (5-10 years): To work as a financial director in a large-scale bank, namely

·A Reflective Commentary on the Intended Career Path

Short-term (1-3 years):

Firstly, I plan to achieve a one-year placement furthering my studies in finance and get
a postgraduate diploma, thereby culmulating more knowledge necessary for my future
formal career. The knowledge can be relevant to a broad range of financial areas such
as the market researcher. This short-term objective can help me gain more technical
and practical knowledge and various skills in order to be outstanding in the sphere of
finance in the upcoming future. According to the psychometric tests resluls, I am a
quite patient person and I have the quality of keeping my cool when facing some tough
situations. However, according to the feedback of the Abstract Reasoning Skills Test, I
have not had a strong enough foundation of knowledge in the area of finance, which
affects my analytical skills and sets hurdles in my career path. With reference to the
Numberical Reasoning Skills Test, I did poorly in the calculations and got low marks
which were a bit below the average. This shows that I am still not so capable of
relevant calculations and my skills need improving. Therefore, it is necessary for me to
get a one-year placement and deepen my understandings of finance. During this year, I
also need to take part in high-energy presentations of different employers before I
graduate through which I can improve my professional skills and understand what

graduate recruiters are really looking for.

Afterwards, I would like to apply for a postgraduate diploma of financial investment
and management. Although it is not necessarily important for a graduate-level job, a
relevant postgraduate degree can give me more competitiveness as well as an edge
over competitors in the future. To have a ground knowledge, it is necessary for me to
read more relevant articles and listen to lectures, thereby building a strong foundation
of principles and theories. It is apparent that the Northumbria University will enable
me to achieve my original objectives, whereas, I also have to acquire more knowledge
and job- oriented skills with a positive attitude for improvement and making progress.

Then, when it comes to the period after my graduation from the Northumbria
University, my career will formally begin. As I am not so well-equipped with working
experiences, it will be a good idea for me to attend the 1-year or 2-year training
programmes organized by some well-known banks like HSBC. During this procedure,
I can culmulate more practical working experiences.

Additionally, according to the feedback of the Verbal Reasoning Skills Test, I was quite
below the average line in verbal reasoning skills, which indicates that I need to
improve my communication skills by furthering my English studying and cultivating a
more outgoing characteristic. Therefore, a training programme that is suitable for a
graduate-level student is approporiate for me, so I can strengthen my communication
skills and reinforce my confidence in my future career in finance.

Medium-term (3-5 years):

When the training programmes are completed, I will apply for the job of a financial
trader in banks like HSBC.

Normally, three basic types of financial trader are needed in the job market. While the
jobs are somewhat similar, the roles are essentially different (Alison, 2008). Therefore,
there will certainly be demand in the job market and I should try to grasp every chance
to gain experience for my future work. This job requires a high-level commercial
awareness; in practice it is difficult for graduates to apply (TSB, 2010).

As far as the job of a financial trader is concerned, first and foremost, I need to have a
strong enthusiasm for the job. Nowadays, with more and more working pressure
imposed upon workers, the overall enthusiasm for work is decreasing to some extent.
Without enthusiasm, nothing can be achieved of high quality. Therefore, it is fairly
understandable that these employers have a priory demand for enthusiasm. Secondly,
the psychological diathesis is another major measurement I should emphasize on. In
the sphere of finance where the situations are changing intensively every day, a good
psychological diathesis is what it takes to handle all the problems and eliminate the
anxieties within. Only through a good mental state, can I settle tough issues I will be
faced with. Moreover, I need to have a good personality and characteristic that are
appreciated. Employers often conduct questionnaires or interviews with questions on
moral issues, testing graduate employees’ personalities. For example, when completing
a questionnaire or being interviewed, one may come across a question asking about
what they would do when they are offered an assignment with a high pay which
however is not what they are so capable of. An honest answer is always expected and

After working as a financial trader for several years having gained enough working
experience, I want to be a financial analyst in a bank like HSBC.

To be a good financial risk analyst should have more professional knowledge about
financial investment; asset valuation; securities; quantitative analysis. And also have
professional training in large listed company. Professional knowledge may bring higher
efficiency in my future task domain. The first few years I’d spend as a financial trader
will help me to gain much practical experience in finance.
Here are the detailed values of HSBC:

“Since we are a bank, we put our focal point on seeking long-term profit growth,

rather than short-term achievements, which means establishing stable, long-lasting

relationships with our customers and making an enduring, positive devotion to the

environment and the communities where we operate.

We were the first major bank to become carbon neutral.

We have already taken on the Equator Principles, a set of voluntary guidelines

developed to help organizations like ours address the environmental and social

problems that arise out of financing projects.

We are making use of the same sustainable approach in relation to people. Part of this

means promoting greater tolerance and mutual understanding of different cultures and

standpoints. Part of it means making investments in projects to help disadvantaged

young people to fulfill their potential.

This commitment takes place right through our business, in almost every country and

through every team. ” (HSBC, 2010)

Since HSBC is a bank, focusing on long-term profit growth, they value loyalty,
specialty, enthusiasm and communication skills most. A Strong enthusiasm for the job,
a good psychological diathesis and good personality and characteristic are important
evaluation criteria.

For now, I have some problems in terms of meeting the requirements listed by HSBC.
For example, according to the Numerical Reasoning Testing results, my judgment on

risks is not so accurate and to the point. Meantime, dealing with complex calculations
on business deals and utilising Excel or SSPS software is not what I am so familiar
with up till now. The HSBC Bank also requires abundant practical experience in
dealing with all kinds of financial issues. So I still have a long way to go to gain
practical social experience. I am glad that my values are almost the same as HSBC’s,
which will help me to smooth off some difficulties.

Long-term (5-10 years):

When the short-term and medium-term has been completed, I want to be a financial
director in a large bank. It is never easy to be a financial director. Many high-standard
requirements need to be met. The duties of financial directors are: firstly, to report
directly to the president and represent the bank to attend important conferences and
commercial activities. Secondly, to improve the motivation and professionalism of the
bank across the sphere of finance and support the bank on significant strategic
decisions and developments is another responsibility that a financial director should
take (European Bank, 2010).

Normally, financial directors need to have at least 8-10 years of relevant working
experience in business, finance or management and should have advanced managing
skills and experience in primary positions, preferably in banks. Successful relevant
experience in leading and managing a large-scale team will be helpful to gain the
important positions in a major bank (European Bank 2010). Additionally, strong
strategic thinking, bonds and relationships and concise business judgment are also a
necessity for financial directors, which enables them to go further in their positions in

According to the feedback of the Types Dynamic Indicator test, I have the quality of
patience and maintenance, which will be appreciated by the employers in finance.
However, as I am indicated as the Protector type, showing that I am somewhat
conservative and not so outgoing. This is where I think I should improve through the
previous years of training. Courage and determination is a must for financial directors,
especially when there are vital decisions to make or urgent situations to tackle.
Therefore, I have to enhance my performance in my mental abilities. I should
strengthen my skills both physically and mentally. Also, I need to do more exercise on
numerical skills and cultivate accurate and quick calculations to adapt to the
challenging working environment.

3. Conclusion with Planned Next Steps

In conclusion, as I continue my studies on business with finance for the second year,
and after years of studying, I do have done something well.

Firstly, as I have a direct objective, I have made an effort to prepare for the position
since I came here for study, especially the basic knowledge of finance. I find that
subjects such as marketing, risk management, accounting and financial statements are
very interesting as well as useful. Other subjects like econometrics and the using of
financial applications are relatively difficult, but have been proved to be most
important. Secondly, in the past year, I have taken active part in varieties of group
activities, greatly improved my team-spirits. Social practices brought me good
psychological quality, quick response to emergency and also lots of setbacks, which
are critical for life in future. Last but not least is a widely range of knowledge of
related fields, such as economic, management; even books of history and geography
are on my booklist. Then I get general understanding of the political environment,
basic principle of economic and life skills.

There are also drawbacks within me. I have done a lot of work, the drawbacks are
inevitable. A lack of professional practice leads to an incomplete understanding of the
field. Though I have learned so much basic knowledge, high-level knowledge is almost

empty. A wide range of knowledge on many subjects is good, but the problem is as a
student of my level, it is hard for me to make a good use. As I have never taken part in
an interview, relevant skills are not familiar to me. Computer technology remains a
problem for future work, as what I master now are just basic operating.

Planned Next Steps:

 1. Go on with my courses in Northumbria University and get the bachelor Degree
     first. During my free time, further my studies on IT literacy through relevant
     courses and improve my communicative skills through more communications
     with advanced learners.
 2. Then apply for a one-year placement and try to acquire the postgraduate degree.
     During this period I will try to apply for training programs or internships as a
     financial trader or other primary positions in finance to gain practical experience.
 3. Approach the goals as a financial analyst and then a financial director through my
     continuous hard work.


Alison, B. (2008), Financial Trader in Close-up, Available at:
21233223331231&srcht=2&ms=2000&skl=22232223322212&pageno=200 (Accessed:
29 November 2011).

Berezin, M, (2005). “Emotions and the Economy", N.J. and R. Swedberg (eds.), The
Handbook of Economic Sociology, Second Edition. Princeton University Press:
Princeton, NJ

European Bank, (2010), Managing Director, Central and South Eastern Europe
Business Group. Available at: (Accessed: 29
November 2011).

Feng Shu, (2009) Four Major Trends Seen in Chinese Job Market, Beijing Youth Daily,
April 30,(4)

Lloyds TSB Bank, (2010), Selection Process, Available at: (Accessed: 1 Dec 2011)

“Opening-up of financial industry”, (2006) [Online], Available at: (Accessed Feb. 2006)

Tyler D, (2011), Guest Post: The Real Employment Situation Report, [Online]
Available at:
(Accessed: 2 Dec, 2011)

Vitt, L.A. (2011), Financial Sociology, Ritzer, G. (ed.) T'he Blackwell Encyclopedia of

Yutong LIU, (2010), Employment Situation and Employment Policies in China,
Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Beijing: people’s public press,pp1-9
“China's Human Resources” (2010) [Online] Available at: (Accessed September,

5. Appendices
5.1 Details of the Targeted Jobs

Position 1: Financial Trader-Flow trader and Sales trader (1-3 year).
   Education and Achievements
This position is required a minimum of 2.1 degree or Higher National Diploma (HND)
in finance (Alison, 2008). Completing relevant subjects was a necessity, business and
accountancy included. More of them should be approved by Financial Service
Authority (FSA-approved qualification).
   Duties and Requirements
They are responsible for trading financial products at an appropriate price and be
careful and thoughtful to make adjustments to the prices at any time. Furthermore, they
need to be able to analyse critically and think independently for enhancement of team
value (Alison, 2008).
   Essential skills and experience
Traders must have excellent numeracy and analytical skills to quote and set price for
the relevant financial products of the bank as well as doing transactions online or by
phone. Interpersonal and oral communication skills are indispensable in order to liaise
with sales customers on market quotation (Kleinman, 2005). It is significant to work
well under high level stress and in diverse teams. The market changes quickly and they
need to work with colleagues to buy and sell financial products according to the
forecast of market. Pre-entry experience in financial area may be required because the
typical activities are complicated.

Position 2: a Financial Analyst (3-5years).
   Education and Achievements
A bachelor’s or master’s degree in business or finance is required. Relevant subjects
can free you from professional examinations, including accountancy, math and
statistics (Andrew 2009). Similarly, professional qualifications for analysts are usually

required, as well as a MBA degree.
   Responsibilities
They have the responsibilities to spot and analyse market trends and to provide precise
predictions for the company. Additionally, giving guidance to the company and make
decisions in investments is also pivotal, as well as managing revenue and cost budgets
(Andrew, 2009).
   Essential skills and experience
Commercial attentiveness gives them support in surveying and informing the
influenced factors of business performance. Strong numeracy, analytical and
problem-solving skills are necessary to analyse competitions and market situations
(Ring, 2004). Moreover, to be detail-oriented, independently and working initiatively
to make sure that they can produce accurate financial reports to definite deadlines.
What is more, great IT skill is one of the key skills, because they have to use
spreadsheet and technical software to collect and analyze financial information.

Position 3: Managing Director (5- 10 years).
   Education and Achievements
Relevant degree at post-graduate level or equal combination of professional
qualification is essential (Bureau of Labour Statistics, 2010). Some organizations also
require a MBA degree.
   Duties and Responsibilities
Firstly, they always report directly to the president and represent the bank to attend
important conferences and commercial activities. Secondly, they need to improve the
motivation and professionalism of the bank across the financial field, support the bank
on significant strategic considerations and developments (European Bank, 2010).
   Essential skills and experience
Normally, financial directors need to have at least 8-10 years of relevant working
experience in business, finance or management and should have advanced managing
skills and experience in primary positions, preferably in banks. Successful relevant
experience in leading and managing a large-scale team will be helpful to gain the
important positions in a major bank (European Bank 2010). Additionally, strong
strategic thinking, bonds and relationships and concise business judgment are also a
necessity for financial directors, which enables them to go further in their positions in


Alison, B. (2008), Financial trader in closeup, available at:
(Accessed: 29 November 2011).

Andrew, L. (2009) Financial manager in closeup. Available at:
(Accessed: 29 November 2011).

Bureau of Labor Statistics, (2010) Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition,
available at: (Accessed: 29 November 2011).

European Bank. (2010), Managing Director, Central and South Eastern Europe
Business Group, Available at:
(Accessed: 29 November 2011).

Kleinman, G. (2005) Trading commodities and financial futures: a step-by-step guide
to mastering the markets. University of Virginia: Financial Times Prentice Hall

Ring, T, (2004) Careers in Finance, 3rd edn, New York: McGraw-Hill Professional


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